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UNIVERSAL U.K.: MORNA COOK
11/27/18

Senior Director, HR Universal Music U.K.

Morna Cook has been Universal Music U.K.’s head honcho of HR since 2009, having worked at the company for 15 years. A champion of broadening opportunities for young people in the creative industries, Cook launched the first paid intern programme in the music industry in 2009, which earned recognition in the House of Commons, and UMUK was also the first record label to open its doors to apprentices. She was recognised for her pioneering work in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, being awarded an MBE for services to the music industry and apprentices.

Cook is now playing a key role in improving the gender pay gap at Universal—the difference between the average hourly earnings for male and female employees—which was revealed to be 29.8% earlier this year. “We’re proud of the number of female leaders we have across the business, including two fantastic label presidents and a number of brilliant managing directors, but I’m clear that there’s still much more to do,” she says.

“We’ve ramped up our mentoring and development programmes, which complement our friendly-family policies, particularly for women embarking on and returning from maternity leave. We also know that bonuses paid to senior A&R staff influenced our gender pay gap. We’re tackling this head on by building on development plans to boost the number of women in our A&R teams.”

How will the “gap” improve in the coming years? “We’re working towards eradicating the gender pay gap entirely,” Cook replies. “It’s going to take time, but I am confident the steps we’re taking will effect change.”

From where Cook sits, the future of the British music industry is rosy. “I’m optimistic,” she confirms. “The brilliance of British music will continue to flourish and break new ground, not just because of the genius of our artists but also the incredibly talented staff who consistently go above and beyond to break records. The next generation of executives fills me with hope and excitement. Hundreds of interns have joined our family since we launched our industry-leading paid-intern scheme back in 2009, with the majority going on to secure permanent positions with us. Watching their careers develop, I have no doubt our industry is in safe hands.”